Links 12/17/2020

MSPCA: 44 sugar gliders surrendered to animal shelter need homes for the holidays WJAR (furzy). Any game readers near Jamaica Plain or Methuen?

Korean lantern festival gets Unesco heritage honours BBC (furzy)

Seven presents that say ‘You’re dumped‘ Daily Mash

Man Is Jailed After Taking Jet Ski Across Irish Sea to See Girlfriend New York Times (resilc)

Unique prediction of ‘modified gravity’ challenges dark matter theory PhysOrg (Robert M)

Infrared Images Capture the Mass Destruction of the Amazon Rainforest Vice

Winter Storm Gail wallops NYC New York Post and Snow storm heads toward the Northeast CNN

The AI Girlfriend Seducing China’s Lonely Men Sixth Tone (resilc)

Exclusive: AI Just Controlled a Military Plane for the First Time Ever Popular Mechanics (resilc)

What Happens if an AI Gets Bored? Scientific American (Robert M)

What Explains the Decline of Serial Killers? Discover Magazine (resilc)


10 Pics That Show The Reality Of COVID-19 At Hospitals, Captured By This Photographer Bored Panda

Frame of reference: Tokyo metro area pop: 37.4 million. Alabama pop: 4.9 million. Alabama new cases as of latest reporting date (the 15th): 3.638. And odds are high more testing done in Tokyo than Alabama.

One Covid-19 case led to 90 more infections: Govt analysis India Today


Pretty remarkable that this tidbit has gotten a free pass. Anyone following the Pfizer study knows these #s are an order of magnitude higher than the cases determined to be cases for the purpose of determining efficacy. So why weren’t these cases assessed?

U.S. quarantines Pfizer vaccine shipments in California and Alabama after transit ‘anomaly’ left vials too cold CNBC (Stephen the tech critic)

Covid: WHO to investigate virus origins in China’s Wuhan BBC. Furzy: “How many times have we seen this headline?”

British American Tobacco wins approval to test Covid vaccine on humans Guardian. Vlade:

If there’s anything you need to know, why the whole vaccine stuff is about money, than anything else, this should persuade you. Next: Gun manufacturers persuade FDA that bullets can serve as a CV treatment.

Alaska Health Worker Had a Serious Allergic Reaction After Pfizer’s Vaccine New York Times

Association of Mortality and Aspirin Prescription for COVID-19 Patients at the Veterans Health Administration MedRxiv

A retrospective comparison of drugs against COVID-19 Science Direct


Coronavirus: Daily record 952 deaths as Germany enters lockdown DW

Almost 1,000 daily COVID-19 deaths in Germany: The criminal outcome of keeping businesses and schools open WSWS


US has the DEADLIEST day of the COVID pandemic: 3,700 people die in 24 hours, a record 113,069 are hospitalized and 250,000 more people as vaccine shipments are held up across the country Daily Mail

Pence, other Trump officials to get vaccine publicly The Hill

‘We want them infected’: Trump appointee demanded ‘herd immunity’ strategy, emails reveal Politico (Kevin W)

Alabama’s Highest-Paid State Employee in a Pandemic Year Will Be a Fired Football Coach Slate (resilc)

After 110K virus deaths, nursing homes face vaccine fears Associated Press. Note also

A 2-year-old was abandoned at a Goodwill with a note and a bag of clothes CNN (furzy)

Chicago schools look to hire 1,000 monitors to babysit classrooms while Covid-spooked teachers stay home RT (Kevin W)


Congressional leaders add stimulus checks to $900 billion relief package as they near deal Washington Post (Kevin W)

Bernie Sanders and Joe Manchin reportedly fight on conference call over stimulus checks Yahoo

Covid-19 Relief Draft Bill Gives $100 Billion Tax Deduction for Wealthy Intercept


China Brings Moon Rocks to Earth, and a New Era of Competition to Space New York Times (Kevin W)


Girteka Logistics director: some hauliers may think it’s better to avoid UK for 3-6 months TransInfo (guurst)

Brexit stockpiling blamed as port congestion hurts ‘45% of manufacturers’ Sky (Kevin W)

Revealed: the millionaires hoarding UK fishing rights Unearthed (Colonel Smithers)

See photo #1. Caption: Women, including widows and relatives of farmers who were believed to have killed themselves over debt attend a protest against farm bills passed by India’s parliament, at Tikri border near Delhi, India. Reuters (resilc)

New Cold War

US and Ukraine vote AGAINST anti-Nazi resolution proposed by Russia at UN General Assembly, Germany abstains RT (Kevin W)


US Designates Bahrain-Based Shia Group as Terror Organization Antiwar. Resilc: “I worked with Bahraini Shia farmers in the Peace Corps. they have been shit on for decades by a Sunni minority.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook Said It’s Developing A Tool To Read Your Brain Buzzfeed

Up To 3 Million Devices Infected By Malware-Laced Chrome and Edge Add-Ons ars technica

Imperial Collapse Watch

How Donald Trump Rescued the “Blob” American Conservative


Cuomo v. Cuomo: Did The New York Governor Make The Case Against Himself With Kavanaugh? Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)


Wall Street donates millions to back Republicans in Georgia Senate race Guardian

Ocasio-Cortez: I’m ‘not ready’ to be Speaker but Pelosi and Schumer need to go The Hill

Our Famously Free Press

The Desperate Last Days of Local News New Republic

The story of Duffel Blog (and why we moved to an email newsletter) Duffel Blog (BC). In the third para. Looks like the author is so cowed he won’t call out FB directly with respect to Duffel Blog:

But this year has been awful. Everyone has had a rough time…Because sometimes (or often) Facebook throttled their content and only served it to a small audience even though those properties worked hard to grow those audiences of loyal readers.

Analysis-Federal Reserve ‘boneheads’ emerge from Trump era unscathed Reuters (resilc)

A Recovery Squandered Barry Ritholtz

Google Antitrust

Ten States Sue Google, Alleging Deal With Facebook to Rig Online Ad Market Wall Street Journal

Google accused of colluding with Facebook in online ad market Financial Times. Lead story in FT and WSJ.

Class Warfare

“Everyone Is Tired of Always Staying Silent”: Inside a Worker Rebellion in the Central Valley Mother Jones (resilc)

Antidote du jour. From a story in Pattaya News that furzy sent a while back. First sentence: “Khao Kheow Open Zoo has been feeding animals with fruit flavored ice to reduce stress from the heat.”

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. zagonostra

    >Ocasio-Cortez: I’m ‘not ready’ to be Speaker but Pelosi and Schumer need to go The Hill

    Bottom line from the article:

    “Ocasio-Cortez, however, gave no indication that she will vote against Pelosi on the floor, even as other moderate Democrats have.”

    I know I’ll irritate some people who just don’t like Jimmy Dore for mentioning that in a live stream last night he showed how AOC was gaslighting in the Jeremy Scahill interview that was the basis for the article referenced in The Hill.

    Briahna Joy Gray who was a guest on JD’s show last night makes a compelling argument for the JD proposal in the article below.

    1. nycTerrierist

      great live stream last nite – and great piece by Gray

      thx to JD, we’re finding out where people really stand


    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I am really tired of this. This is why the left fails. Hero syndrome, halo effect (seeing people as all good or all bad) and no willingness to persist in long campaigns. No one would satisfy you and you won’t get off you butt to do anything more than bitch and moan.

      AOC and Sanders are inside the political system. Sanders has gotten stuff done, like bullying Amazon and McDonalds into increasing wages and getting M4A out of political Siberia as a policy proposal. AOC is one bloody Congresscritter. The fact that she commands any sort of bully pulpit at her age is remarkable. So we are learning that she isn’t enough of a ball buster to be a movement leader. Did she ever once say she was that? Why the hell do you demand things of her she never said she’d do? Asking her to unseat Pelosi is a ridiculous demand.

      The problem is the entire left is limp-dicked. She’s a reflection of that, not a cause.

    3. Baby Gerald

      I’m convinced that the resistance to this idea is primarily and almost exclusively a resistance to the source of the idea. Just imagine if this was, say, a decade ago and Jon Stewart was pushing this. How much resistance do you think he’d be getting from the so-called left?

      The political and social media landscapes are full of skeptics or downright haters of JD and this initiative of his keeps outing them in real time. Literally every indirect response by AOC naysaying this proposal [who must be under strict party orders to never respond to Dore directly about anything ever] has been dissected as false. She has now given four nonsense excuses to not act on this. Thankfully, Jimmy is calling her bluff and not going away. The more the powers that be keep trying to deflect the issue, the louder he calls them out. His latest video is salty, sure, but IMHO this is focused and well-directed anger and very much necessary viewing.

      BREAKING: AOC’s Gas Lighting Gets Called Out On Twitter!

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Agreed with you. In fact, some of his blue check critics have tipped their hands on making it personal and deflecting from the proposal. The fact that Jimmy is a divisive personality usually means they could just blow him off, so I find it interesting this is gaining traction. And I wonder too why AOC hasn’t directly addressed Jimmy, if she is who we are supposed to believe she is.

        I’m also with Briahna Joy Gray and David Sirota that they should actually ask for more. This is a chance to get something concrete, though I agree with the reasoning for a M4A vote. But…I know what’ll happen, so it’s all theoretical anyway. Sigh.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its a two fold problem.

          Realistically, less than 30 Congress critters support M4All. Its not half the caucus. Clyburn for example use to make a big show of introducing single payer legislation until 2009. At that point, he stopped. I don’t know what happened, so its fair to say lying is easy and costs nothing. Even with everything, the bulk of these people aren’t going to do anything. They let Hawley become a public hero over $1200. That is how committed these conservatives on Team Blue really are. Its a party of Claire McCaskill, not AOC being held back by a few villains. The idea its that latter problem has protected the McCaskills and Clyburns.

          Not only do you have the obvious villains like Joe Manchin (there is always a villain), there are all the villains living in relative anonymity. Look at Joe Biden. He was thoroughly despicable, and one poll said 30% of his voters thought he supported M4All.

          Its the group of otherwise well intentioned people who believe thugs like Rep. Neal are anything other than monsters. The point is to get people to understand Biden et al aren’t your friends (AOC isn’t my friend either which is important to remember) and despite Republicans being mean have consistently been harmful which is what AOC has more or less said. This is the real problem, getting people to understand Pelosi, Obama, and so forth have not been good or even mediocre actors from the standpoint of even a legitimately moderate position. “We have to support our President”, “he’s only been president for three months”, “he inherited problems”, all of these arguments do need to be stamped out because they protect bad actors.

          As for Speaker, the alternative is Jeffries. He’s more deranged than Pelosi. This constitutes the bulk of elected Democrats. The problem isn’t really Pelosi as much as the trash she represents.

          1. zagonostra

            Why Jeffries? I’m trying to understand more about how the Speaker is elected. I know that, according to Wiki the Constitution does not even “require the speaker to be an incumbent member of the House of Representatives.”

            The power that has accreted to the office has been an historical and traditional legacy not a constitiutional/legal one.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Why Jeffries?

              He’s moved into a leadership position. He gives them a token shield. And “Centrists” have no shame, and Jeffries is high energy enough he will work for it compared to other members of Team Blue who largely started their political careers to talk about how great the status quo is.

              I think Hoyer on his own is too repulsive to get the spot. And though the Constitution doesn’t require the Speaker to be a House member, the Speaker’s job requires a fair amount of organization and actual work. Pelosi ruled with an iron fist instead of delegating, so the members are too reliant on her to look elsewhere or a member of their own party caucus. Its far more likely we will have non lawyers on the Supreme Court before we have a Speaker who isn’t a House member.

              1. zagonostra

                You’re right. It is highly unlikely that anyone outside of the House would be made speaker. It’s not like little Pete coming in and running the Dept. of Trans, you would need the institutional knowledge and experience.

                I see that you’re also right about Jefferies, he is a “good” fit for Speaker. It will take time to a long time to get beyond identity politics, to a place where substance trumps identity politics. He would be the first Black Speaker.

                According to OpenSecrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, Jeffries is the leading congressional recipient of hedge-fund money, collecting nearly $150,000 through July 1. Rose is second, with almost $130,000.


          2. Rod

            Clyburn for example use to make a big show of introducing single payer legislation until 2009. At that point, he stopped. I don’t know what happened,
            follow me on this:

            As COVID raged last spring, President-elect Biden said that he would veto Medicare for All even if it were to pass the House and the Senate. He also received more money from insurance and pharmaceutical industry employees than any other candidate in the race,… During the primary, he received crucial ninth inning support from Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, whose endorsement is considered to have been critical to Biden’s victory after a string of disappointing primary finishes. Clyburn is firmly against Medicare for All despite the fact that Black voters support the policy more than any other ethnic group. He is also the single highest recipient of pharmaceutical money in Congress. These connections are rarely made by the press.

            Okay then–from the Post and Courier Story linked in Current Affairs:


            And the long-serving Democrat has accepted less and less over time from pharmaceutical and medical device companies: The most he took in a single year was $122,000 in 2009.
            but so curiously to me in SC:
            Among his peers from South Carolina, Republican Sen. Tim Scott has received the second-most in the years since coming to Washington in 2012, first in the House and later in the Senate. Yet Scott’s sum does not amount to even one-third of what Clyburn has earned from his relationships with top drug- and device-making companies.

            But of course, you see–
            Still, his total contributions from the industry, which makes everything from ibuprofen to joint replacements, stands out when matched against his peers. The reason is likely a combination of his hand in the passage of a health care overhaul, his leadership roles and the characteristics of his district, which includes two major research institutions.

            That would be USC and MUSC (no, the Citadel does not focus on Medical Research)
            Jim Clyburn is very intimate with the “game” of Politics, which, imo, is a big part of the Problem. Legacy is what it is all about, bless their hearts:

            On James and Emily—-She helped raise three daughters who are now also fixtures of their community — a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, a career educator currently at the University of South Carolina and the political director of the state Democratic Party.

            “What she did with her own children to show what firm resolve and a strong education could do for them — she has created another generation of Clyburn leaders,”

            and this bit:

            Throughout her career, she established the library program at W.G. Sanders Middle School, then Fairwold Middle School, in Columbia. She was the head librarian at the Charleston Naval Academy and a librarian at Simonton Elementary School and Burke High School, both also in Charleston. And this was very good and much needed.

            Emily Clyburn also served two separate stints as a librarian at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Columbia, from which she retired in 1994. In his memoir, Jim Clyburn recalled the reverence she had for the veterans community, which included her push for him to join the Veterans Affairs Committee when he won his first election to Congress.

            An accelerated career of achieving, BUT I would point out Emily was 55 years old when that VA Retirement kicked in. FWIW

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            People diss Jimmy Dore and ask what good he’s doing, but he adds something sorely missing everywhere else: passionate, emotional, hair on fire outrage

            It took Nancy about 60 seconds to take $28M for her besties at Lincoln Center. It took the 1% errand boys and gurlz about 7 days to take the CARES $4T gift from your kids and grandkids for Wall St and the biggest corps. Burn it down. Heads on pikes now

            1. The Rev Kev

              Here is an eye-opener of a Matt Orfalea tweet in Jimmy’s Twitter account-

              Nancy Pelosi: We need single-payer! But we must wait!

              30 YEARS LATER

              @AOC: We need single-payer! But we must wait!

              What is eye-opening is a clip of Nancy from 30 years ago giving all these reasons why you can’t have healthcare such as – poor people won’t be able to have “access” (there is that word again). It won’t be affordable to them. That is not how it works! And she knows it.


              And now she is an icon because she puts on a pair of glasses like a Gangsta!

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Not all, or only, theoretical. Forcing an actual Floor Vote on CanadaCare for All Americans would force all the Dem Representatives who are against it to vote against it, before God AND C-SPAN. It will humiliate and shame some of them and perhaps destroy some of their political careers.

          It will heighten the contradictions and deepen the discord and division. It will be an educational first step to see which Dem Reps are valuable to which Dem Voter or Dem Donor constituency. Even if it only sped up the extermination of the DemParty, that is a good achievement right there.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Let’s face it, THIS is what “holding his/her feet to the fire” actually looks like. And anyone who “promised” that that’s what would happen after people voted for biden never meant one freakin’ word of it.

        Anyone who swallowed those promises whole was had. Bigly.

    4. pebird

      If you only fight the battles you expect to win, you will lose the war.

      AOC may understand this in about 15 years.

      1. Adam Eran

        Vietnam is the best example of that I can remember. A loser all the way, but it certainly discouraged (and corrupted) those who opposed the French colonial oligarchy.

    5. remmer

      Blasting AOC from the sidelines seems to be a popular way to burnish one’s lefty credentials. AOC and the handful of her fellow progressives do have a lever to use for some kind of political gain now that Pelosi will have such a slim majority in January. Jimmy Dore, Mark Stoller, David Sirota, Briahna Joy Gray all have ideas, and probably lots of other people do, too. But how should they use that lever? What should they demand? And who would make that decision?

      Mark Ames says AOC’s caution shows how “un-radical the DSA/left wing of the Dem party is compared to GOP’s Tea Party insurgents.” But the Tea Party was an organized caucus of about 60 members, that had leaders and held meetings. Even the smaller Freedom caucus has about 40 members. And very few, if any, of them faced primary challengers financed with millions of dollars by the RNC. How many “members” does the Dem party’s “left” caucus have? And how many of them did face DNC-financed challengers? The Dem left has nothing even remotely like the Tea Party or Freedom caucuses, which means AOC et al. don’t have the insurgency leverage to do what her critics on the sidelines want her to do. And if they can’t agree on what should be done, how do they expect AOC et al. to make that decision?

      1. urblintz

        AOC just sent me an e mail about the importance of the $1200 checks to the people…
        then she asked for money to help make it happen

      2. zagonostra

        In her campaign ads AOC she was willing to be a one term congressperson if it meant sticking by her principles.

        The decision is simple and brilliant in in its simplicity. That is why people are piling up on JD, because it took a comedian to come up with it.

        It is their small numbers that give them disproportionate power, and they will only have this leverage now. If they don’t use it they lose it. Look at the JD proposal carefully, it not about how many numbers the “Dem party’s caucus left has.”

    6. Glen

      And here’s the UNSPOKEN PART:

      “Thank God I have health care because you guys are {family blogged}.”

      But please keep donating to Nancy so you can dream about your kids having universal healthcare.

    1. a different chris

      And environmentally destructive, too!

      Look at the two stories, one about the Amazon and the other (the twitter thread) about GB trying to “feed itself”.

      It’s claimed, and probably true, that the country can’t. Can the EU? China? The US? If so, for how long?
      Brazil is going to cut down the Amazon because “economics” say that’s the only way we can feed ourselves.


      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Well, I know that the US can certainly feed itself. Indeed, the US produces at least 8500 calories per person per day. 1400 for export, 3000 for biofuels, 1400 wasted, and 2700 eaten. And that last one is 600 calories more than than 2100 calories per day that we ought to eat. Thus America’s obesity epidemic.

        The US has a great many flaws, but an inability to grow food is not one of them. Indeed, we’d probably be better off if we produced less food and let some of that farmland go wild.

      2. Lee

        The U.S. can currently feed itself, so far as humans are concerned. As with housing, healthcare, education, employment and so on, It simply chooses not to, imposing socially constructed scarcity instead to discipline the peasants.

        It’s feeding my dog I’m a bit concerned about. Turns out that the company that produces my dog’s preferred brand is experiencing shortages because their farm sources have been devastated by weather events, and their processing plants have been shut down due to Covid-19 outbreaks. Here’s hoping this is not a harbinger of things to come on a larger scale.

        1. Janie

          I had a neighbor who made her dogfood – chicken and veg. They all seemed healthy. (When I was a child, the dog got table scraps and leftovers. Probably not the best, but the dogs I knew seemed happy and healthy.)

      3. Alex Cox

        Don’t ask these questions. They will lead you to the forbidden term ‘carrying capacity’ and the concept that a nation’s population should not be greater than its capacity to feed that population. Then you will be cancelled as a Malthusian.

    2. Massinissa

      I get more and more amazed that the elites act like civil unrest is not a possibility from this kind of dehumanizing treatment. Then again, they’re pushed pretty hard so far with little to no popular resistance…

      1. D. Fuller

        Look at Greece since 2008. The “elites” use Greece as an example of just how far they can push. Turns out, pretty damn far.

        1. Hepativore

          There is also the fact that law enforcement and the military have many more tools to crush dissent than was available in the past. It was a lot easier to organize a strike or even a rebellion when you were not under constant surveillance from both public and private institutions. Law enforcement also has far nastier weapons than it ever did before due to years of militarization and a general proclivity to use them.

          Finally, do not think that the elites would hesitate to authorize domestic drone strikes if they really felt threatened.

          1. Bob

            Yes that is possible.

            However the tactic of bombing from afar (or drone strikes) is not effective.

            Just look to Afghanistan. Or Korea. Or Vietnam. Or WW2 Germany.

            Bombing is effective as a part of a combined arms operation however flinging a few bombs on distant targets doesn’t work.

            Closer to home in some areas e.g. Portland, rural Virginia law enforcement is not a presence.

            While the weapons available to law enforcement have grown nastier and the surveillance capabilities have grown ever pervasive the fact is without deep popular support these tactics in and of themselves never work.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Afghans have a long history of effective resistance to “tyrrany,” with occasional injections of “help” from outsiders (Pakistan secret service, Russian weapons, and of course Stinger MANPADs from Brzezinski’s “master stroke) laid over a culture of pride and vengeance. Deep understanding of tactics, terrain and (always shifting) alliances and loyalties, all aimed at protecting their traditional way of life (including dancing boys and oppressed women and focused ignorance.)

              A Hellfire or GBU 11/B or 12 in a city sewage or water plant or power plant (not to mention hospitals) can screw life up for a lot of people and demolish popular support for any uprising pretty quick in our befuddled and dependent polity. The US Elite, living in their Elysium, won’t have any trouble doing the dirty to crush anything like a Shay’s Rebellion or slave revolt. Bombing the domestic front to vastly increase precarity that already is well up the scale would more likely do “pacification” pretty effectively. Assuming, of course, that the Troops would follow such orders, and that the Brass have not achieved a “Battlespace” that is automated, a la “Terminator…”

              Nothing like that Afghan political economy structure here, so don’t be looking to places like that for hopeful models to take down the Empire.

            2. Massinissa

              I’m not sure the intent is to be effective. I think the intent may be to simply cause terror. Though if they expect drone strikes to do anything other than that, then I agree they aren’t actually good at those things.

            3. ambrit

              Absent “..deep popular support..” a tactic can be “justified” through public apathy. It also counts as to what part of the human population one designates as the ‘official voice of the public.’ Authoritarian regimes have had great success with organizing minorities to oppress the majority. Just consider the ‘popular’ tactic in many empires of using police forces made up of ‘strangers’ to the local populace to impose rule.
              I’ll assert that the main ‘strength’ of drone murder is in it’s terror component. Not knowing when or from where death will come a calling quickly weeds out the “Heroes of the Resistance” from the “Sunshine Patriots.”
              There is also the type of campaign happening to consider. Combined arms doctrine is for large scale conventional war. Some could assert that today’s ‘Surveillance State Emergency’ is a conventional war of a sort. In such a situation, definite concrete objectives guide actions and determine success. What the elites today fear is a truly “irregular” war. That can be carried out.

              1. Oh

                Right now there’s widespread apathy on the major part of the people which is the reason that the 2 party shuffle keeps working.

                Universal Health Care? Are you kidding? Who would the people want that? It’s only for the administration, the Congress and the SC.

            4. drumlin woodchuckles

              A little camera-eye-back-to-base suicide drone-bomb the size of a bumblebee could be flown right up to the target and then detonated for a targetted assassination.

              Drone strikes don’t have to be large spectacular missiles from the upper atmosphere.

          2. km

            All those drones and nasty weapons and surveillance tools and folks itching to use them made the pacification of Afghanistan and Iraq so easy! A cakewalk, even!

            Mission Accomplished!

          3. D. Fuller

            The US has exerted far more control over our population than Stalin ever dreamed of having. Been that way for awhile. The subtlety of the controls in our society are simply mindboggling. From birth to death.

            The US can be viewed as a thoroughly Communist society.

            The purpose of business is not to employ people. That goal is secondary. The purpose of business is to pay taxes. Then employ people to pay taxes.

            That apple cart was upset with Reagan, neo-Nazi disciple Paul Weyrich of the Moral Majority & The Heritage Foundation & The AEI, Milton Friedman with Friedmann econmics, Art Laffer of Moronic Economics, Grover Norquist of Adolescent Pop Economics from when he was 12 years old formulating “lower taxes = prosperity”, et. al.

            Since the 1920’s, the American population has been the subject of much psychology regarding control of populations. Eugenics movement was part of that; a Eugenics movement that rebranded itself as “Family Friendly” enterprises.

            Since the 1960’s a lot of effort has gone into studying the causes of civil rights movements & demonstrations; focusing on how to suppress such. OWS and to a lesser extent BLM – are the result. Neutered. Unless a George Floyd event happens to temporarily reinvigorate protests.

            Obama destroyed OWS on behalf of Wall Street, beginning months before OWS even had their first protest.

            How ironic is that? A President who can be President thanks to protests from long ago; destroying protests against economic injustices and economic criminality.


            1. Massinissa

              I agree with everything you said except for “The US can be viewed as a thoroughly Communist society.” Can you define what your definition of ‘Communist’ is? Even swapping it for another similar word like Stalinist still makes that sentence nonsensical. One doesn’t have to be a communist society to have a Panopticon style surveillance system, nor is that even a requirement.

              1. D. Fuller

                Let’s use the Soviet definition of Communism, particularly Stalin’s version, as State Capitalism.

                The Central Committee of The USSR was staffed by monopolists who fought each other for control of sectors of the economy. With each sector supported by State spending. The USSR also had a tax system. In The US, a class defined by wealth (and social standing along with some mix of bloodlines) donate money for influence, competing against each other. While in The USSR, lower level bureaucrats (see below for PMC reference) schemed to depose their bosses, for favor, for influence. The American Communist State achieves state spending through the budget and central bank – to support those would be American monopolists (who gather together in their own bubbles).

                The differences between The US and USSR is one of method. Businesses have captured the politicians in The US. The politicians in the USSR were the CEO’s.

                Globalism in the US is akin to how The USSR treated satellite countries. Where as the USSR was monolithic in nature, globalism achieves a kinder, gentler sort of looting.

                In The USSR, the masses were impoverished, relative to Western standards. In the US, the masses are reaching a stage of impoverishment.

                Both employed bureaucracies staffed by individuals who took advantage of their station. In the USSR, the Communist Party represented the equivalent PMC of today in The US.

                The means and methods are sometimes different. The goals are always the same.

                The advantage modern day US society has over The USSR? Unparelleled means of mass surveillance even more intrusive than The USSR ever dreamed of. Stalin would be envious.

                In the end, the differences between Capitalism and Communism (State Capitalism) is one of method and means. The results – the goals, rather – remain the same.

                Communism and Capitalism are used to describe the one system. The differences are methods and means used to mask the one system that rules us all: basic needs and desires.

                Food. Shelter. Sex. Power. Mastery.

                1. ArvidMartensen

                  The best belief systems with the widest appeal have something for everybody. That’s why they are successful, and that is why you see such belief wars, with adherents raging against each other, same sacred tome in hand.
                  Adam Smith? Against monopolies. For monopolies. Tick.
                  I would update your basic needs and desires to:
                  * Stay alive for as long as possible, using various means to make a fortress around one’s life (power, wealth, knowledge)
                  * Propagate one’s genes
                  * Ensure offspring / racial / species survival by acquiring more and more resources through plunder of human and natural environment
                  * Find existential meaning through religion and beliefs

        2. montanamaven

          In Doug Henwood’s “Wall Street” (1993?), he chronicles how the elites, the bonds holders brought NYC to its knees in 1976, the year I moved to the City. Garbage piled high, dangerous subways with crappy subway cars, and the rabble did not rise up. I think it was the first real test of Friedman’s Shock Doctrine in the US. And now it feels like another full frontal assault with the elites practicing “austerity” in the open as opposed to gussying it up with phrases like “the free market” and “private v. public”. So I don’t think there will even be yellow jacket like protests. We have no memory of such strikes. There may be mayhem with people just starting to steal stuff. For now, I think conservatives will just hunker down with friends and family to protect their own and they will seethe. Unlike 1976, it’s much more obvious now that the elites not only think the conservatives are deplorable but are expendable. The sleeping bear may be waking up.

  2. Mikel

    RE: Nursing home vaccine fears

    “…Lori Porter, who heads the National Association of Health Care Assistants and blames the Trump administration for making faith in science a political issue and undermining his own experts…”

    When did science become about “faith”? It was always supoosed to be about hard, thorough tested evidence.
    How many times do people have to list the littinay of real crimes against real people in the name of science?

    Real sh – – has happened to real people because of bad drugs and vaccines.

    The pharma lobbyists make it a political issue. The minute they sent lobbyists to Congress, this kind of thing became a political issue.

    And everytime I have to read this abject rejection of any mistakes by pharma and sciencr…like it is all in people’s heads or “Trump’s” fault…the more none of this passes the smell test.
    It all just sounds like some evil McKinsey PR..

    Repeat phrases: “faith in science” “associate with Trump” “use the term anti-vaxxer to marginalize anyone with questions”

    It’s too much of the same PR buzz phrases being repeated everywhere.

    It’s not information. It’s gaslighting.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Joe Biden tweets one of his focus-group tested, disingenuous epigrams: “ Science will always be at the forefront of my administration.” That has no more useful meaning than “Hopeandchange.” Just gaslighting the mopes.

  3. vlade

    Re Alaska –

    I’d really like to know how many people in the UK/US were vaccinated so far. I’d guess thousands, tens of thousands tops (this particular hospital administered 144 shots so far)  Which means that it’s going to be a reasonably common reaction.

    I’d also say that this was after the first dose, and IIRC Pfizer docs say that there were some severe reactions post second shot.

    It really doesn’t seem it was tested well. Which, TBH, is no surprise, as it’s not easy to get a good volunteer sample that would represent the population. And even worse, a lot of governments is planning to use the vaccine on people who were almost certainly under-represented in the sample, i.e seniors with health issues or generally people with serious health issues.

    1. Brian westva

      The person had no history of allergies and was in the hospital overnight after receiving the vaccine. I would assume that FDA has a reporting system for these adverse events. If so it will be interesting to look at the data as it comes in.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        I’ve been curious about the reporting system too. Health and Human Services maintains a datbase called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which seems a likely candidate to be the go-to place for tracking adverse reactions to the Covid vaccine like the two healthcare workers in Alaska (yes, there has been a second person with a severe reaction).
        I’ve been trying to learn how to navigate around the VAERS site but it’s not exactly user-friendly (at least for me). From what I can tell so far, there might be a two-month lag in reporting, as the latest downloadable data sets include infomration up to 10/15/20. I could be totally wrong about that, however, so anybody with some expertise could shed some light on how to find relevant Covid vaccine information.

        1. SE

          Yup, there it is, pg 41.

          “Among 3,410 total cases of suspected but unconfirmed COVID-19 in the overall study population, 1,594 occurred in the vaccine group vs. 1816 in the placebo group. Suspected COVID-19 cases that occurred within 7 days after any vaccination were 409 in the vaccine group vs. 287 in the placebo group.”

          So….Of course the reported cases were only confirmed cases. I know that Pfizer is testing for symptomatic. I had some concern early on that the criteria for what they were willing test would be too high, leaving a lot of cases below the radar. I don’t think I expected there to be so many documented but unconfirmed cases….that were actually reported? I just keyword searched this section and went right to the relevant page. I haven’t reviewed the whole document. I have to get to work this morning instead, you know, spending all my time in the NC comments section. But my question would be, why were these unconfirmed? These they test these people and were unable to get positive result, but believe based on symptoms these are cases? If so, using the number of actual positives, this is above the false negative rate of the PCR test, certainly, but I think even the antibody test. So…anyone?

          Also, not to go back to that pesky 40 degree fever, but this document mentions 1 in trial group, 0 in the placebo group. The NEJM document mentioned 2 in the trial group, 2 in placebo group. A 100% and 200% difference. These numbers should match?

          1. Dean

            “But my question would be, why were these unconfirmed?”

            It certainly would be easy if they just defined what “unconfirmed” meant. If I understand correctly:

            The primary endpoint of the study is to determine if participants are protected from covid.
            How do they know if a participant has covid? They are symptomatic AND have a positive PCR. Many participants were symptomatic so they had to be tested but had a negative PCR. These are the “unconfirmed” cases (again if I understand!). As the document concludes: “It is possible that the imbalance in suspected COVID-19
            cases occurring in the 7 days postvaccination represents vaccine reactogenicity with symptoms that overlap with those of COVID-19.”

            Unfortunately the study did not use PCR test on all participants to detect not only symptomatic but also asymptomatic infections.

            1. SE

              Right, yes? I haven’t read the whole document carefully, but I didn’t see a definition in that paragraph.

              We saw some discussion in the press about the possibility of asymptomatic cases due to the “symptoms +PCR” definition. But no discussion of…symptoms with no PCR. My next question after what ‘unconfirmed’ means is (my understanding from reading it is likely symptoms w/out PCR) is…why no PCR? (I know PCR has 90% sensitivity, so if you have symptoms and negative PCR, still a good chance you have COVID, especially if you have no smell) So…a breakdown of symptoms seems very important here?

              But, I mean, yeah, a definition of unconfirmed needs to come first.

              1. Diuretical

                The relevant passage to contextualize the “suspected COVID” cohort is in page 13 of the FDA submission. Case ascertainment was as follows: “If, at any time, a participant develops acute respiratory illness, an illness visit occurs. Assessments for illness visits include a nasal (midturbinate) swab, which is tested at a central laboratory using a reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test”. The “suspected, unconfirmed” population described on page 41 consists of people in the trial with an influenza-like illness, who were assessed as per study protocol, and were swab negative. The sensitivity of the swab (it’s capacity to detect a true positive case of COVID) is quite high in symptomatic patients — probably 90-95% — the literature is in evolution. So it’s reasonable to think that the people with suspected COVID but negative swab did not in fact have COVID. Many respiratory illnesses can have a similar presentation.

                1. Cuibono

                  sensitivity is NOT that high
                  i think 80% is much clser to teh truth and that is in really good testing set ups

                  1. Diuretical

                    NPW probably is 90-95 sensitive in symptomatic patients, but you’re right, the MTS seems to have lower sensitivity. That being said, the second half of the sentence, which I didn’t cut and paste for brevity, reads as follows: “…or other sufficiently validated nucleic acid amplification-based test (NAAT), to detect SARS-CoV-2.” Presumably, this includes NPW. I read through the rest of the FDA brief, the NEJM article, and the supplementary appendix, but didn’t see a breakdown of the diagnostic tests employed (NPW vs MTS). The PCR NAAT part of the analysis is very robust, but the sensitivity of the test varies with pre-analytic factors, sampling site being the biggest part. It would be good to know the breakdown of NPW vs MTS as case ascertainment is a key part of assessing VE. Authors can probably provide this information.

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            Since you are quoting the linked Alex Berenson tweet, I will park this here.

            Berenson has been a fixture on Tucker Carlson’s show since the beginning of this “pandemic.” He has written several pamphlets on “unreported truths” about america’s various covid responses, which have been, at least initially, censored by amazon.

            In many cases, his work does not comport with the establishment narrative, which is why this link comes from The Federalist and not the nyt.

            “Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1,” which included information on death counts and estimates, was also rejected by the online retailer when it was first published in June. After prominent voices like journalist Glenn Greenwald and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk spoke out about the censorship, Amazon said it was rejected in “error” and the book went on to be a No. 1 best seller in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

            The e-book version of Berenson’s third installment in the booklet series eventually went live for people to purchase on Tuesday, but the paperback version was blocked from sale on Amazon’s site.
            “Censorship is alive and well. Every study I reference is quoted verbatim with a link to the original paper,” Berenson wrote on Twitter. “WHAT IS GOING ON?”


          3. Cuibono

            my understanding is that these were SUSPECTED cases that had NEGATIVE PCRs on investigation.
            if so, no big deal really.
            What is a big deal is that it was up to trial staff to determine when someone shojuld be tested. there should have been routine weekly tests. Esp since we know so MUCH of this disease flies beneath the radar!

            1. Rtah100

              I replied but it appeared at the bottom of the page. Short answer, you are mistaken. Long answer, vide infra.

                  1. Cuibono

                    weird; i did. it was not there. i refreshed my browser. still not there. then 15 minutes later it as there…

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    Vichy Dems angry at Bernie for having Principals:
    “…members trying to rush the $900 billion proposal into law are “infuriated” by the potential for Sanders’ opposition to blow up the whole deal.”

    but a bunch of free money for “defense” contractors, airline shareholders, and other assorted rich folks is fine and dandy…and quintessentially “progressive”?

    1. km

      Not only is it “progressive”, free money for “defense” contractors, airline shareholders, and other assorted rich folks is “The Most Progressive In History Evah!(R)”

      All rise for the flag salute.

    2. Geo

      “Vichy Dems angry at Bernie for having Principals”

      This is why I don’t get upset with Sanders for how he ran his election. He’s perpetually fighting what he believes is the right fight. I (and others) don’t always agree but it’s clear he’s one of the few good ones we have elected in office.

      Sure, it would be great to have a cutthroat type who knew how to wield power better on the progressive side, but the reason most are progressives is because they’re not that way. And what has been the success rate for fighting progressives anyway? Alan Grayson? Ralph Nader? Dennis Kucinich? All banished to the ends of the earth.

      As AOC said in that Intercept interview: “The structural shifts of power in the House, both in process and rule, to concentrate power in party leadership to such a degree that an individual member has far less power than they did 30, 40, 50 years ago.” They are fighting a complicated and corrupt system that will crush them with any chance it’s given. Again, they may not always make the best choice but I admire them for actually being in the enemy-territory trenches of DC trying to figure out how to change things for the better. Wish there was less “friendly-fire” from the left and more acknowledgement that reinforcement forces are needed to help them shift the establishment power balances.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        damn, Geo….you almost made me want to run.
        i’d not settle for a lower position than Texas’ 11th.
        Mike Conoway’s seat.
        i’d never win, of course…and all the disparate videos of me would come forth, and i’d be on the defensive from the first.
        sounds utterly exhausting.

        …and i don’t think it would matter all that much.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “US has its DEADLIEST day of the pandemic so far: 3,700 people die in 24 hours, a record 113,069 are hospitalized and 250,000 more people are infected as vaccine shipments are held up across the country”

    So I was checking out the Coronavirus situation at worldometers and had a look at the United States. It states that there are seventeen and a half million cases in total. If the real figure was an order of magnitude greater I would not be surprised but let’s go with that listed figure. With the US having a population of about 335 million people, that means that about 5% of all Americans have been or are infected by this virus. We have all seen the death and misery and hunger caused by this pandemic here but reflect that to get to ‘herd immunity’ like some people wanted, that would require at a minimum of 60% which works out to about having 200 million Americans succumbing to this virus. Might want to mention that to the next idiot that says herd immunity is a great idea and is the way to go.

    1. Massinissa

      I think the people who wanted herd immunity initially thought that most people would be relatively asymptomatic. That’s not the case, which makes the fact that some people are still parroting that concept six months later when a hundred thousand people end up needing critical hospital care a day just… Its almost incomprehensible.

      1. Carolinian

        There was a British study that said that 75 percent of the people testing positive had no symptoms. That isn’t definitive either but there are so many uncertainties about the tests that it is still difficult to nail down what portion of various populations have even been exposed.

        What we do know is that historically most epidemics end due to herd immunity. It is a real thing. Or so say actual epidemiologists as opposed to mere web commenters like yours truly.

        1. Wukchumni

          We have an excellent herd immunity case scenario in our vast prison population in a wide range of ages & ethnicities, with 80-90% of all convicts testing positive, and unlike those in the country not incarcerated, they are the perfect study group as none of them are going anywhere soon, and easy to track.

          We could actually glean something of value from our prison industrial complex, as if that’ll happen though.

      2. Geo

        People that want herd immunity are most likely the type that think it will only happen to others. The ones that say “they already had pre-existing conditions” about those who suffer and die from Covid are the same who look at a police shooting of an unarmed black man and say “he had a criminal record.” The system works for them so they assume those who it doesn’t work for are at fault for that failure.

        As long as those 200M Americans aren’t them, then it will be fine.

        An old buddy who worked for Lehman Bros once said during a discussion after the housing crash, “You think we’re evil or something don’t you?” My response back was, “No. I think you look at charts and stats and see numbers going up and down instead of lives being ruined.”

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          “Want” herd immunity? We will all either *get* herd immunity, whether we “want” it or not, or we will all expire. No different from H1N1, which is now present in an estimated 50% of humanity, or any other seasonal pathogen for that matter.

          I’m still curious how and why the CDC applied for and got a patent on it, either it is a naturally occurring life form (and thus illegal to patent), or it is a new recombinant life form (and thus illegal under bioweapon and bioterror laws). Curious.

    2. Carolinian

      The herd immunity theorists would reply that a large portion of the population may already have immunity due to previous, related viruses–not to mention the ability of the body’s natural defenses to dispatch the virus in many healthy individuals. Also the Worldometer figure may not include lots of people who have had Covid without even knowing it. You are taking one statistic from a website and calling people idiots who don’t agree.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was actually taking a number from the actual article that listed 16.96 million cases for the US as much as that site. And yes, many people have had the virus without knowing about it which is why I specifically said that I would not be surprised that the number of cases might be much higher. So my point still is valid. With the number of ICU beds running out, hospitals having to triage incoming patients and medical staff washed out and shattered, do you seriously think that this pace can be kept up to handle another hundred-odd million more cases? I don’t. But going for herd immunity would require precisely that. Maybe that is why the mad dash for a vaccine. To get people to forget all the blunders and mistakes – such as herd immunity talk – and so that people would feel grateful instead.

        1. Wukchumni

          A buddy who is an ICU RN, related that 40% of the daytime shift ICU RN’s at the hospital just got ‘left behind’ for a fortnight worth of quarantine as 2 out of 5 fellow ICU RN’s caught Covid a few days ago, so it isn’t only bed space that’s scarce these days.

        2. Carolinian

          I am always reluctant to debate about this as medicine is hardly something I know much about. But I do think it needs to be said that there are many who do not agree with the always cited worse case scenarios and use past experience for their models rather than theories about how novel this current virus is. And one of the objections is the always shifting rationale for policy. Is it that we have to keep the hospitals open and therefore take drastic measures while still accepting that herd immunity is a real thing or is it that we think this epidemic is much worse than usual and must be conquered by our medical science come what may (with everyone locking down in the meant time)?

          Where I live–the hardest hit region of the state–hospitals have threatened to fill but they have not done so yet. And in my particular county they are now showing more beds. In NYC they brought in a hospital ship which was little used. Other places are having more of a second (or is it third?) wave and may be harder pressed.

          But I don’t think anyone has suggested that 200 million Americans will succumb as you suggest and in fact the 300,000+ figure is considerably lower than some initilal predictions. Some have also pointed out that flu deaths are down which may mean that many elderly who would have passed from the flu are doing so from Covid instead.

          NC now has doctor commenters helping us to understand this and I think that’s a good thing. I for one don’t feel the urge to be doctrinaire about something that is so very much not my field.

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            As a layperson myself, my perhaps incorrect understanding of the dangers of a Herd Immunity scenario is that the R rate would rise perhaps exponentially, meaning that healthcare systems would be unable to cope leading to many dying because they were deprived of basic treatments – a vicious circle which would also put immrense pressure on already exhausted healthworkers.

          2. Rod

            Yesterday in SC, 1 out of every 4 Tested was Covid Positive(24.2%)–but we only tested ~8,000 Folks out of 5 million residents. SC has not had a Positive test % less than 14% since the late Spring.
            As of Yesterday, 5% of SCs population has had the C-19–at least once.

            Even Henry admits maybe we could do better. When pressed hard at last weeks Presser, Henry guessed that when Folks get sick themselves–or maybe a loved one–then they will start taking The Covid seriously. There is nothing more he could do.

          3. The Rev Kev

            Actually Carolinian, I don’t think that 200 million figure will be reached either due to vaccines, a change in people’s social behaviour, mutation of the virus, etc. What I am saying is that for herd immunity to be a working concept, that is how many people need to be infected in the United States as you need about 60% of the population to have been infected i.e. 200 million people. Apparently those in the White House could not do the same kitchen mathematics.

            1. Carolinian

              But isn’t your 60 percent figure itself just an assumption due to the factors I stated above?

              The Swedes have assumed that a much lower percentage applies in this case. They are getting some criticism because the epidemic continues despite premature proclamations of possible herd immunity.

              But they still have a lower deaths per million than the US (and than my state) despite a much less rigorous approach to the disease. They do have and have had social distancing rules but have not shut down businesses.

              All I’m saying is that the entire situation deserves some two sided debate, not denunciations.

              1. The Rev Kev

                For common diseases, an immunity rate of 85% is found and with Sweden, even the King of Sweden has just come out and blasted the country’s failed response. If I sound irritated in my comments it is because we have been here before with the pandemic of 1918-19 and we repeat the exact same mistakes now as happened back then with masks, social distancing, etc. But it is worse this time around. It is brutal.

                We have old farts demanding that other old people sacrificial their lives for ‘the good of the economy’. Quack TV doctors saying masks are no good and kids have to go back to school regardless of the consequences. Look at the situation in America and realize that it did not have to be this way. I just had the thought yesterday that if this virus grew more lethal and killed 50 million people in North America, that economists would just shrug their shoulders and say that they could open up the Mexican border for a few years for replacements – and to stop wages raising for the survivors.

                That is the thing – seeing leaders act like sociopaths. Nancy let tens of millions go hungry and be kicked out of their homes as she did not want Trump to have a tactical win. Trump thought that the stock market index was really showing how great America was going instead of the body-count. You can bet that this pandemic has been gamed out on biological warfare maps to see how it plays out – and be profited from. What a world we live in.

                1. Carolinian

                  It is worse this time? Didn’t 20 million people world wide die of the Spanish Flu?

                  The rest of your comment is just the Dem party line–Repubs callously want people to die for money etc. There aren’t many states that are redder than mine and everybody wears masks, 40 percent of parents took the option to keep their children at home for school this fall etc. Turns out Repubs are just as concerned about disease and their children as anyone else.

                  Indeed some of us would contend the danger is being exaggerated for Dem political purposes which creates its own kind of harm. I guess a year from now we will know who was right.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    Uhhh, you do know that I don’t live in the States, right? So I have the luxury of having no dog in the Democrat vs Republican fight. I actually get to despise both of them equally because of their total disregard for people’s lives. In fact, I would say that Republicans stab you in the chest while Democrats stab you in the back. But both will still stab you to benefit themselves.

                    As for the first great pandemic, it was far, far worse. It killed at a minimum 50,000,000 but was probably far under-counted and roughly 675,000 died in the US out of a population of some 103 million. The flu variant back then killed mostly young people and spared the old and when you read accounts of what it did to young people, it is something like out of “Andromeda Strain.”

                    Because they went blue and choked to death, it was not possible to tell the difference in some places between dead white people and dead black people. True story that. Here is a video on those times-


                    1. Carolinian

                      Right. That was then. Covid is not the Spanish Flu although it does tend to kill many of the same people as the regular flu. One reason cited for why Sweden did worse than its neighbors is that it had a light flu season the year previous and therefore more potential elderly victims.

                      It’s really the elderly who should be locking down and quarantining until the disease passes and in that sense nursing homes are probably the worst places for them. With the results you see.

                    2. The Rev Kev

                      Not only the elderly but those with problematic health. And then you have the long-haulers whose heath we do not know about and if they will recover fully. With this virus, it is really a numbers game. Yes, it is less lethal than the 1918 one but the numbers of cases overwhelm all medical facilities leading to extra deaths. But as far as Sweden is concerned, I don’t trust their numbers and put them in the same category as China.

    3. flora

      And the FDA is still denying that hydrocloroquine with zinc and antibioritc,and also Ivermectin both show good results when given early, at onset of symptoms, or as a prophylaxis. Many observational studies show this. So if you develop C19 symptoms, sorry, there’s nothing the US can (or will) do for you. (If you have pain, however, we gots patented pharma opioids by the basket full for you. Take as many as you want.) grrrr.

        1. barefoot charley

          Vitamins C and D3 and zinc aren’t manufactured drugs, nor are they patentable. Corporate medicine will never seriously study them, let alone prescribe them. Case closed. Use as needed.

          Considering the FDA’s decades-long jihad against supplements, we can be glad a few nut-job conservatives like Sen. Orin Hatch defend their nut-job consumers and producers on behalf of us all. (Utah is a huge supplement producer, and Mormons are informed consumers.)

            1. ambrit

              Oh polecat, (cue the Charles Boyer Pepe Le Pew voice.)
              The moniker “health nut” is indeed a pejorative term down here in the NADS. We have found it nigh impossible to find a medical professional with the requisite knowledge to hold an intelligent conversation with concerning vitamins and supplements.

      1. rowlf

        I haven’t been able to figure out if the denial by the FDA is due to chauvinism or profit protection. I would think studies from other countries would be to a high standard, or are they playing to their local situations by making it appear that they are doing something?

        1. Cuibono

          “chauvinism or profit protection”

          correction: “covid AND profit protection”

          add to the mix a general lack of intellectual curiosity and independent thinking

    4. Cuibono

      estimates range that the number of confirmed cases represent something like 1 out of 6 to 1 out of 10 actual infections.

      So 100 million to 170 million have been infected IMO

  6. Mikel

    RE: “Facebook Said It’s Developing A Tool To Read Your Brain” Buzzfeed


    Nobody needs that. We need alchemy and teleporting (ala “Star Trek” and “The Fly” remake).

    1. flora

      Facebook cheats with its so-called fact-checking. Expect to cheat on this nonsense, too.
      Facebook owns Instagram and uses Instagram to fact-check.

      Glen’s longer article on Substack.

      Creating or buying enough secondary companies to fact-check and affirm the owner parent company’s false claims as true isn’t the same as something actually being…um…true. ;)

  7. fresno dan

    The AI Girlfriend Seducing China’s Lonely Men Sixth Tone (resilc)

    Xiaoice was first developed by a group of researchers inside Microsoft Asia-Pacific in 2014, before the American firm spun off the bot as an independent business — also named Xiaoice — in July. In many ways, she resembles AI-driven software like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, with users able to chat with her for free via voice or text message on a range of apps and smart devices. The reality, however, is more like the movie “Her.”

    Unlike regular virtual assistants, Xiaoice is designed to set her users’ hearts aflutter. Appearing as an 18-year-old who likes to wear Japanese-style school uniforms, she flirts, jokes, and even sexts with her human partners, as her algorithm tries to work out how to become their perfect companion.
    Somewhat similar to the movie Her with Scarlett Johansson and Joaquin Phoenix. Sad story, but when your dating a girl made out of a computer, she’s gonna want a guy with a really, really, big…brain.
    In this case, more of a noir movie – the girl’s motivation is money.

    1. Massinissa

      SOMEWHAT similar. The ai in ‘Her’ at least was a thinking person, albeit a digital one, with a consciousness. The ai here is basically a talking video game that also happens be spying on some of your data.

      Well, at least these facsimiles won’t ascend to a higher plane of existence like the AI in ‘Her’ did.

    2. km

      And if I break up with my AI GF, will she stalk me until I give out my credit card number? Will I need to block er on my phone? If don’t renew my subscription, the AI GF will send me whiny texts about why don’t I love her anymore?

      Just ducky.

  8. Tomonthebeach

    Seventy-five is NOT the new 55. It never has been. AOC is generally correct. The DNC is alienating voters by prolonging its geriatric leadership history. I’m 73, and I want these elder statesmen and women to retire. We just elected Biden over Trump – both well over 70. Now the leaders of the Geezer Party want to re-elect an 80-year-old to Speaker? That screams a leadership void.

    Make no mistake, the GOP is making political hay from the DNC’s eldercare program. Meanwhile, bright Representatives like Porter and Ocassio-Cortez continue to be sidelined and muzzled. Who thinks that this is attracting Gen-X and Millenials?

    1. freebird

      This will all make a lot more sense to you if you think of the DNC as a mafia family seeking to profit itself and cling to power til death. They do NOT WANT to attract Gen-X and Millenials, they only want to serve their corporate bribers, and their own accounts. Voters are just a formality and as long as the only other choice is trumpy red-ties, young voters will get in line with the blue-ties.

      As far as young generations taking up leadership positions, they have a plan. The country detested Kamala and Pete, and yet they are being tapped for top jobs. Their only qualification is willingness to do what the mafia wants. And there are always plenty of ambitious jerks like them waiting in the wings. They have a plan, we just play no role in it.

      1. km

        I see the DNC as being sort of like the Brezhnev-era Politburo, only older and creakier and more resistant to change.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Dumb too. Brezhnev and the Politburo were beneficiaries of a problematic governing system (control of the Communist Party over the Soviet state) and couldn’t see a way where they stayed with reforms, but they weren’t entirely unaware of the Soviet street.

          We have Democratic Senators calling for liability shields for corporate America in public. Soviet politicians wouldn’t try that.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      One can say the same about medicine. Fauci is close to 80 years of age. Is there a qualified person in the pipeline to replace him? If not, why not? If there is I think it is well past time for Fauci to step down and give someone younger a chance.

    3. Mikel

      They aren’t being kept around for any skills that they have, but because of the secrets they keep.
      They have to groom holders of secrets, not people with any skills. The people with the skills already exist.

  9. Ep3

    Yves, no need for bailouts and stimulus’s. Look at these amazing growth figures! And all these lazy “unemployed” r going back to work (instead of their full time benefits gigs, they will be working at fast food & Walmart, but hey a job is a job!). So let those evil democrat cities & states go bankrupt, it’s their own faults. Michigan governor rick “the nerd” Snyder didn’t know back in 2010 that maybe giving a $1 billion tax break to businesses that mostly didn’t need it, he didn’t know that maybe Michigan could use that money one day. But if the state needs money it should just keep cutting revenue sharing (Detroit would not be bankrupt had Michigan kept up on its revenue sharing payments).

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Girteka Logistics director: some hauliers may think it’s better to avoid UK for 3-6 months”

    I have read that the only time airliners make money for their companies are when they are actually in the air. That is why the concentration of keeping them flying as much as possible and scheduling to the minute. I would imagine that it would be similar for trucking companies. That the only time they would make money for their companies are when they are on the road transporting goods. Having your trucks bottled up at a Dover Customs car park for several weeks would get expensive real fast as the opportunity cost would tick up fast so until some sort of system emerges from the wreckage, I would be hesitant in sending trucks there too in the first several weeks.

    1. STEPHEN

      Most haulage contracts include clauses covering demurred and detention at terminals. Its typically an hourly rate, effective after some free time has expired. In my experience, its usually $50-100 per hour after 1 or 2 hours, but every contract will be different.

  11. Fox Blew

    RE: “What Explains the Decline of Serial Killers”

    I’d like to add another possibility to the ones already mentioned in the article. Applying Eric Hoffer’s method (The True Believer), I have to wonder if the rise of pro-violent mass movements (yes, some on left but many decidedly on the right) since the 1990’s has drawn would-be serial killers into these organizations.

    1. edmondo

      Another possibility is that we elected them all to Congress and they just blend in with the other psychopaths.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There are a few, but the Team Blue bad actors are the Republicans of a few decades ago who can’t quite do the whole Country Pop schtick but sort of see politics as a retirement hobby to be done performatively. They even call it giving back. Its why Sanders and a Republican with his eye on 2024 were the ones who had to demand anything.

        Does this make them psychopaths? Eh…maybe.

      2. Mikel

        There are also a number of security agencies where that profile would fit right in.
        Also, join the military and become a killer drone operator.
        Desires satiated.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Charlottesville Rapist murdered his last rape victim five to ten years ago. Without cameras that placed where all the players were, how long would he have continued? He committed sexual assault for years. My guess is a number of would be serial killers get picked up earlier. Didn’t one of John Wayne Gacy’s early victims go to the police and the police sent him “home” assuming it was a lover’s spat?

      I don’t know much about it, but the awful stories about sex trafficking would seem like the kinds of operations that might attract the serial killers of yesteryear. There was the article about one of the leading voices of QANON being picked up for child pornography.

      Besides, the police have proved time and time again, they only care if an important person dies.

      1. General Jinjur

        “. Didn’t one of John Wayne Gacy’s early victims go to the police and the police sent him “home” assuming it was a lover’s spat?”

        There was something like that reported about Jeffrey Dahmer IIRC.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Then of course, there are questions about the mysterious deaths of homeless people that seem like murders or goings on at Fort Hood.

      We have a less equal society, so certain deaths aren’t going to register with the Rachel Maddow audience class. As long as brunch isn’t interfered with. Airplane crashes dominate news media for months all over the world, but the Grenfell Towers barely register a mention. Don Lemon doesn’t have to worry about black holes in the Projects at this point in his life. A plane, maybe.

      1. Pat

        Do not forget prostitutes. If a serial killer isn’t broadcasting their kills, missing prostitutes are largely dismissed, and those that point out this could be because of some problem are derided or ignored.

    4. aleric

      This seems to be forgotten every few years, but the answer is almost certainly the same as the cause for the reduction of other violent crime at this time. Elimination of leaded gasoline, and increased access to abortion.

  12. timbers

    What I Have Learned from NPR

    Recently been working next to someone who plays radio set to NPR all day. A real eye opener. Literally stuck in time warp.

    1), Some dude interviewed on immigration reform said Biden has an opportunity if he moves quickly to grab “low hanging fruit” by passing laws that Republicans support, in a bipartisan bill. No mention of things Republicans don’t agree with or even a mention of what Dems stand for on the subject.

    2). America is now the Mostest Inclusivest Democracy Ever, because we have gays/latinos-latinas/minorities assuming public offices that have never ever had them before (regarding gays: I’ve never known one myself other than myself of course but honestly how do they know that?). All presented in mostly monotone, droning hosts but you could tell they were proud…but just loud about it. And of course, income or working class status is never ever mentioned. If we’re sexually and racially mixed, obviously income has nothing to due with anything. No class divide to so see here, not anywhere in America. If that $17 billion airline investor bailout is going to a representative mx of gays, hetros, males, females, and minorities, what’s to complain about? It’s perfect.

    3). Way too much of what’s happening now is compared to how socially distasteful Trump&Co is/was. Almost no time spent on actual policy unless it’s in the context of how horribly norms shattering Trump&Co is.

    4). Russia is a big part of daily reporting. She just launched a massive Cyber Attack on us. No mention of motive and why she would do such a thing. No evidence offered.

    1. Rod

      NPR is a puzzling mess, to me, nowadays.
      There must be a memo about Questions and Questions Not To Be Asked.
      But I believe they are a Demographically Correct Organization, so there is that.

    2. Carolinian

      NPR has become ever more clubbish and even expects the faithful to shell out dues from time to time. As long as those roll in they have no reason to change. Some of us just ignore as we do the NYT and WaPo for the most part.

      Public radio and television do receive some subsidy from all of the public because of those station licenses and therefore should be held to some standard of newsyness rather than political clubbishness but they are not.

      1. John

        Jimmy Dore just did an interesting take of David Sedaris, a NPR front row kid favorite, for his a##hole, very Trumpian comedy sketch on wanting to fire a department store clerk for not satisfying him.
        Somehow sums NPR up. Tone deaf Karen’s and Ken’s all smiley faced one minute and wanting to get you fired the next.

        1. Duke of Prunes

          I saw this bit on CBS Sunday Morning over the weekend and was horrified. I was just flipping through the channels so I didn’t see the introduction so I didn’t recognize the person. I struggled to determine whether it was just bad humor or simply musings of someone comfortably ensconced in his wealthy elite bubble. I’m sure it played well to his brunch crowd.

          I read some of Sedaris’ books in the 90s and thought he was hilarious. I guess he hasn’t aged well. Here’s the link

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Unlike the real life Ken’s and Karen’s, I assume Sedaris was joking. I’ve read some of his more recent stuff and he’s still hilarious. Just watched the clip and yeah, he comes across as meaner that he does in print but being a biased fan of his I’m taking it as more of a critique on society than on any one indiviual’s foibles. I could be wrong though – if so, did 60 Minutes ever replace Andy Rooney?

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Really sick of this ‘most diverse cabinet evah’ nonsense. I’m so old I remember the currently rehabilitated George W (the W is for warmonger) Bush bringing in Condi Rice, Colin Powell (not officially cabinet, but close enough), AGAG, and some lesser lights of the Hispanic, Asian and/or female persuasion, and we still haven’t recovered from that cornucopia of diversity yet.

  13. John Beech

    Girlfriend had a sugar glider. Cute as the dickens (girlfriend, too). Those things are a royal pain in the ass because they defecate and urinate ‘everywhere’. Her placed smelled akin to a cat lady’s house and soon they joy of screwing was overwhelmed by the acrid smell (I’m more the Felix than an Oscar). So we drifted apart. Nice girl, too. Me? I ended up winning the lottery with another girlfriend – married closing on 43 years. I’ve been happy. Reasonably sure she is as well because I’m both a good guy and dinkum provider. Anyway, the occasional stories about sugar gliders usually lead me to reflect and wonder what ever happened to her (but, no, I’m not curious enough to poke around for her on Facebook, or anything similar).

    1. Fireship

      Thank you for that random stream of consciousness. It was beautiful. Please tell us more all about you, John. You sound wonderful. I would love to know what you had for breakfast.

  14. polar donkey

    Could commenters give some insight to what I heard a few months ago. Early in the pandemic, I had heard from someone that if you test positive for covid you most likely could not get any new life insurance. That made sense in my mind since insurance companies could not evaluate long term risk to people of this new virus. With so many cases happening, how are life insurance companies dealing with covid? Additionally, what do insurance companies think about vaccine?

    1. John A

      Dont know about life insurance, but here in Europe it is now very difficult to get travel insurance of the annual policy kind.

    2. HotFlash

      That reminds me. Do insurance companies have anything to say about wearing masks? You’d think they would recommend/require them or coverage denied or at least charge a higher premium, as it is with people who engage in dangerous sports.

    3. Janie

      Polar Donkey, I don’t recall seeing commenters here with actuarial or insurance backgrounds, and many of us are of an age to buy burial insurance rather than life policies.

  15. zagonostra

    >How Donald Trump Rescued the “Blob” – American Conservative

    This is such bunk, even Obama admitted that going back a couple of decades the Dems would be considered Republicans. Is this ignorance or is the author deliberately misleading his readers?

    Biden’s leftward shift on domestic issues is a reflection of two complementary trends: The long-term move to the left by the Democratic base on the one hand, and intense opposition among progressive Democrats to Trump’s policies on the other. On socio-economic issues, left-leaning Democrats and anti-Trumpism push in the same direction, shifting Biden’s policies in a more progressive direction.

    1. Carolinian

      Right. AC is great on war and peace but turns out conservatives are still paranoid about socialism.

      1. Another Thought

        Its not just conservatives. I’d guess 80% of the population goes bats**t crazy when the word socialism is spoken, which is why we’ll never have M4All, debt relief, or simply feed and house the less fortunate citizens of the richest country on earth.

    2. D. Fuller

      How is Biden shifting Left? Biden was essential to the DLC. The very DLC that was co-founded by The Koch Brothers. Biden may be talking Left – a lot of empty rhetoric, however… that does not mean Biden is Left. Too many – especially on The Right are confused as to what constitutes a Reagan Democrat(R) – Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, etc – in comparison to what constitutes a Leftist or Progressive (of which there are some flavors).

      People needed to be reminded of Obama’s(R-eagan Democrat(R)) quote. Thanks for the reminder. Even Reagan signed immigration reform in 1986.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Trump is gone. The spoils are open once again for the usual GOP crooks. Biden could end estate and capital gains taxes, and the GOP would paint him as Super Stalin.

        1. D. Fuller

          Of course Republicans would paint Biden as Super-Stalin if Biden were to do those. Because they can’t take credit for it.

          ACA – a Republican health care scam written by Neoconservative think tanks such as The Heritage Foundation and The AEI – implemented by a Republican in Massachusetts by the name of Mitt Romney.

          Passed by Obama and Democrats.

          One issue that Republicans have with ACA – and this issue angers Republican politicians greatly? Donor money flowed to Democratic politicians. Which is why Republicans sabotaged their own attempted sabotage of repealing ACA. McCain was crucial in that sabotage – which is why he always went last. Republican efforts regarding ACA is to make it even friendlier to profit-seeking corporations. To attract industry donations back to the Republican Party. Republican politicians do not want ACA gone anymore than Biden does right now.

          Spoils are best split – according to party leadership – when one party controls Congress & The Presidency. Otherwise they have to share, with knives out, eyeing each other in wariness, waiting to strike.

          There are other considerations to take into account. Money is not the only issue for why either party does what they do.

          Democrats are lucky that they only have 12 seats up for grabs in The Senate in 2022 as opposed to 22 seats for Republicans. If the situation would be reversed? The likelihood of 60 Republican Senators would be greatly increased. It only took 2 years of betrayal by Obama and Democratic Party leadership, before voters kicked Democrats to the curb in some of the most historical losses in Democratic Party history (2010) – not seen since 1948. Biden’s 3rd term of Obama’s Presidency? What are they going to run on now that Trump will be gone?

          They have nothing.

          Democrats will have to rely on Republicans in order for Democrats to be elected or re-elected. Republicans will have to put forth unelectable candidates while also screwing up legislation (being blamed for it); in order for Democrats not to become a permanent minority party.

  16. John Beech

    2-year old abandoned . . . reflecting how big a pain in the hind end a 2-y/o can be. Not sure this is ‘quite’ the right way to handle the issue! Poor kid.

    1. Massinissa

      It’s impossible to know (at least without reading that note, which I have not), but I assume it had more to do with economic distress than simply being tired of it.

    2. anon y'mouse

      it’s called exhaustion and lack of support (of all kinds).

      lovely interpretation you have there, though. keep looking and you will find that few handful of cases where it was about boredom and impatience to prove your theories of humankind.

      1. freebird

        Wow that’s a bit harsh. Lighten up maybe, poster was making a wry comment about how high-maintenance a two-year old is. I didn’t see any theory propounded.

        1. anon y'mouse

          if (s)he meant it purely humorously, then my apologies.

          the comment stands for the next idiot who thinks what i thought (s)he was saying, though.

          i will “lighten up” when i stop hearing opinions like this, or other Welfare Queenisms, BootStrappisms, and Calvinist stigmatizations which are all too common throughout our society.

      2. marieann

        and I noticed how the two people that were captured on camera were referred to as the “suspects” I wonder what sort of support they will get now……
        My heart goes out to people who have no other avenue but to abandon a baby

    3. D. Fuller

      The economic distress shown by long lines at food banks, the eviction crisis, and Blackrock CEO crowing about how much money he will make off of it; while The Federal Reserve is 100% responsible for Dow 30,000 instead of fundamental economics?

      Is the preview of American Cannibal Capitalism that is in store for Americans in the future. Where the Rich will eat the Poor before turning on each other. Unless it is stopped. Parts of the US already ARE developing-nation status threatening to slide into 3rd world status.

      Inflation is the #1 Industry in the United States. The rich want more, bigger numbers. The only way possible is to inflate the money supply – either digitally or otherwise. American Capitalists are constrained by what mechanisms they have. It is not enough to be a billionaire anymore. Trillionaire is the new goal.

    4. polecat

      I can see the realities playin out now .. the grimy explosion of former middle class parents – now the tawdry homeless themselves .. giving away their so-to-be street urchins, to be deposited across the entire Realm .. but without the benefit or support of orphanages, be they state or otherwise!

      I doubt today’s contemporary church orgs. are up to the task.

  17. Halcyon

    The AI Girlfriend Seducing China’s Lonely Men Sixth Tone (resilc)


    I saw a talk by a guy from Microsoft in China who had worked on Xiaoice and pod about it back in the day at the International Conference on Machine Learning… when we were allowed to go outside.

    It was pretty shocking to hear how blase the guy was about the idea that people would “prefer Xiaoice to a human woman” because the bot didn’t complain, didn’t have interests beyond reflecting your own back to you, and didn’t have any interests beyond trying to keep you talking… unlike the actual humans that you have to deal with from day to day. Much like how social media algorithms attempt to maximise time on site, these chatbots attempt to maximise the number of exchanges individuals have in a conversation, and are extraordinarily proud of the edge cases – people who get addicted to talking to the bot. The guy was bragging about the fact that they had monitored some users who were talking to Xiaoice every single day and preferred it to interacting with… you know, actual human friends and contacts of theirs.

    Evidently these companies are dreaming of a world where people’s best virtual friend is also surveilling them with the hope that some of this data can be monetized. And thus loneliness and a lack of social cohesion becomes another profit centre.

    1. rl

      “It is easy for me to imagine that the next great division of the world will be between people who wish to live as creatures and people who wish to live as machines.” —Wendell Berry

    2. HotFlash

      To be fair, China’s one-child policy and preference for male children has resulted in a substantial gender imbalance. Current pop is approx 750 million men, to approx 681 million women. That’s 69 million guys for whom there is no doll. Taking into account life expectancy differential (men there live to about 73, women live to about 77) makes it even worse if you are a youngish Chinese man looking to have a steady girlfriend, let alone marriage.

      On the bright side, if the eligible bachelors who prefer a virtual woman to a real one take themselves out of the running voluntarily, I would guess that the real ladies involved will be happier and also that Darwin would approve.

      1. D. Fuller

        Shanghai is actually the Gay Capital of the world, in relation to numbers of practicing male homosexuals. San Francisco may have the flamboyancy? Pales in comparison to Shanghai by the numbers. We Americans believe we are the center of the world. Saudi Arabia, by percentage of population, is the most male homosexual country in the world. Lesbian practices in Saudi Arabia and other Arab States are not far behind. Ironic considering that homosexuality is a death penalty offense in Saudi Arabia.

        1. apleb

          How are those statistics compiled in when homosexuality gets you the death penalty when you answer “yes”? How would you know this is a honest question and not some snitch who would like to see you dead?
          Somehow I’m skeptical.

          1. rl

            Moreover, one thing that such excitable “data” almost always neglect to account for (or fail even to recognize) is that there is a world of difference between “homosexual orientation” and “heterosexuality with an ‘appetite’ (or unfulfilled ‘need’).”

            (Gay men and lesbians, of course, tend to be quite attuned to this and—bracketing out all the more obvious anxieties about “options,” social pressures, etc.—it is probably one reason why self-described bisexuals have at times been regarded with a measure of caution and/or even scorn.)

            (Lest anyone get the wrong impression and think I mean to “invalidate” this, that, or the other: no. But sexual opportunism is a real phenomenon, and few things are lazier than to map so-called “identities”—words that should make it easier to articulate an interior experience, i.e. erotism, and are adequate to little else—one-to-one onto behaviors.)

              1. rl

                Simple. “Men who have sex with men” and “women who have sex with women” ≠ “homosexual men/women.”

                In and of itself, the prevalence of same-sex sexual relations in e.g. Saudi Arabia (long-standing customs of segregation by sex, so that men and women who are not related to one another are, at least in principle, rarely alone together) or Shanghai (which I know much less about, but in keeping with the above discussion of lopsided Chinese sex ratios—) says little to nothing about the existence or nonexistence of a flourishing gay or lesbian subculture/underground/whathaveyou in these places.

          2. The Rev Kev

            Those statistics are sort of like the ones for masturbation. About 80% of men and women admit to practicing it while the other 20% are liars.

      2. johnson

        Exactly. The most important fact that discredits the laughable “because it never talks back” argument is that it is almost exclusively men interacting with these AIs. They’re not turning away from a multitude of romantic options in favor of a chatbot: they have none at all. The choice of a case story in the article should have made this clear. Male loneliness (and despair in general) is a serious issue and products like Xiaoice exist to exploit it.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      We are voluntarily submitting to the matrix as more and more people are unable to function in meatspace.

  18. Judith

    I just saw this on BAR. Samantha Power being considered to head USAID:

    “Just when it seemed that Joe Biden’s coming administration couldn’t be more of a horror show, Axios reported that he’s likely to appoint another monster from the deep, violent know-it-all Samantha Power, to head the US Agency for International Development (USAID). I rescheduled my piece on contact tracing’s potential to further empower the surveillance state for next year’s first Black Agenda Report and instead updated my 2015 piece “Samantha Power: Africa’s Problem from Hell.”

    As I said then, when Power was serving the second of her four years as President Obama’s US Ambassador to the UN, she was on a mission to save Africans from African savagery, but her largesse extends to all those who need American bombs to calm ethnic strife. She wants you to call 1-800-GENOCIDE , so she can alert the president to send in the Marines or other US Special Forces. As head of USAID, she’ll be in perfect position to wield foreign aid as a cudgel for beating foreign heads of state till they line up behind US empire, which she understands as a never-ending campaign to stop genocide and defend human rights.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can imagine how USAID will go under Samantha Power-

      ‘Hey, if you want some of that juicy aid, the you are going to have to give us a few things in return first. Charity is not free you know. For a start – one, recognize the state of Israel, two stop taking Chinese loans, three…’

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ma’am, the lawyers are pretty certain we can rename USAID as Henry Kissinger is Bae, but they think it will cause problems if your desk chair is made out of the skulls of Yemenis’ children with the UN.

  19. Ignacio

    Revealed: the millionaires hoarding UK fishing rights Unearthed (Colonel Smithers)

    I should say that this is mostly divided between the artisanal fleet (vessels with less that 12 m in length) and the industrial fleet made of large and powerful vessels typically with freezing equipment and high loading capacity while the artisanal fleet is for fresh fish loading and unloading in a day-by-day basis. The industrial fleet is the most profitable. Under EU policy, it is understood that protecting the artisanal fleet is most important from the socioeconomic point of view: it is barely profitable but employs many more fishermen and it can be very important in some coastal communities. Anyway, it is quite normal that the industrial fleet will make more captures and have a high share of fishing quota even if they account for 1% of the fleet by their numbers. It is all about capacity and the yield between fishing effort and catches.

    What I would argue, as in the UK and elsewhere in the EU where there is excess fishing capacity, is about whether the reduction of capacity is to be held by the artisanal or the industrial fleet. Put me in the second side.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      And biden also reportedly considering bob iger, official kneepad-wearing, china-groveling, former disney ceo to be “ambassador” to china. Per Sagar Enjeti, the only choice for that position worse than mayo pete.

      Disney’s live-action “Mulan” remake, made under Iger’s tenure, was filmed in Xinjiang, the province in which China is interring Uyghur Muslims on a mass scale. The movie thanked eight government organizations in its credits, including one blacklisted by the U.S. government for its role in abusing the Uyghurs, indicating close collaboration.

      That’s unacceptable. Iger’s remarks about Hong Kong are demonstrative of a broader attitude rooted in the exchange system established between the American film industry and China. The Chinese market is extremely lucrative, so Hollywood studios preemptively censor films and make creative decisions that allow them to be approved by CCP censors. They collaborate with the government to get their movies into Chinese theaters, rather than using their content as leverage to pressure Beijing into better behavior or speak out on the abuses. It’s unpatriotic and immoral.

  20. D. Fuller

    Ah, the neo-Nazis of Ukraine. Out in Lviv, the Banderistas (Ukrainian nationalist in WWII committed to genocide) love their SS Galicia Division celebration day. Attended that just to watch the abhorrent neo-Nazis celebrate their Nazi roots. Being too stupid to realize that Hitler was going to exterminate them to. Banderistas had a habit of switching sided, first siding with the Nazis then being anti-fascist and then going back over to The Nazis. Banderistas used to wrap women & children in barb wire and let them bleed to death. The Banderistas were so brutal that even the Nazi SS Einsatzgruppen refused to work with them in exterminating populations.

    My Russian ethnic friends (outside of Crimea) – in places like Kharkiv and Odessa – I knew in Ukraine were against rejoining Russia. They to did not want to see Ukraine dominated by Russia. Well, that was a few years ago. After the mini-Civil War and with the neo-Nazi rhetoric coming out of Kiev nowadays… sentiments may have changed.

    People reliving history without realizing that history has moved on. That those responsible for the Holodymyr – a combination of man-made disaster and disastrous weather – are dead. While Russia has issues with condemning the Soviets who were responsible for much suffering in the USSR and abroad. Both sides want it there way.

    Why people feel the need to feel ashamed for others in a past time that they had no control over? Is beyond reason. The old Blood Libel is alive and well today. What should we feel ashamed of? Continuing practices of discrimination and evil that we fail to stop. People need to learn their history so as not to repeat that history. Their is no shame in history. People need to learn that, also.

    The only shame is in continuing the failings of the past – by refusing to learn our history, refusing to acknowledge the mistakes of the past, and of refusing to correct the injustices that may or may not be continued into the present.

    One other issue is by how we judge the past by the present day morals. That is an error. If we had lived in those societies of the past, I doubt that many would be bucking the system as most practices would be seen as acceptable. We can draw comparisons to how people of yore, believed. Contrasting their beliefs with our beliefs and practices of today. As a measure of progress or failing.

    As for reparations? If the US can afford to waste $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion a year on a failing National Security State that is nothing more than grift and graft? The US can spend $40-$50 billion a year for 20-30 years in an African-American program meant to assist in education and economics. Have it run by African-Americans. Their successes and failings will be their own. With a thorny issue being laid to rest.

  21. Jeff W

    The Daily Mail headline properlyreads

    US has its DEADLIEST day of the pandemic so far: Nearly 3,700 people die in 24 hours, a record 113,069 are hospitalized and 250,000 more people are infected as vaccine shipments are held up across the country

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Including apparently gunshot deaths. “Bock told CBS4 that because the victims had tested positive for COVID-19 within 30 days of having been shot, the county classified them as “deaths among Covid cases.”

      Ditto I guess for heart attack, cancer, pneumonia blah blah blah. Just find a fragment of the DNA in your patient and you can bill 25% more. LOL

  22. Mark

    “Everyone Is Tired of Always Staying Silent”: Inside a Worker Rebellion in the Central Valley

    Quoting the article, how can these workers expect to succeed in their demands when there is “a bottomless reservoir of immigrant labor”
    that can easily replace them, just like the “immigrant” labor replaced the Okies, Phillipinos and Japanese who had worked in similar plants?

    The elite love illegal aliens because they destroy the ability of workers to strike successfully and under the guise of humanitarianism, have made California a magnet for “migrants” with drivers licenses, free medical care under Medi-Cal, sanctuary state policies at both state and local levels plus other inducements to attract yet another generation of strike breakers.

    With tens of millions of evictees about to move into their cars nationwide, 50% of small businesses shutting down, mass poverty, it’s time to stop vacuuming up Central America’s uneducated and poor to compete with our own citizens and legal immigrants for housing, financial aid and public assistance.

    1. D. Fuller

      The goal is to reduce US wages and labor power to that of developing nation status or 3rd world status.

      As globalism is currently designed… profits come from wage & regulatory arbitrage while wasting vast amounts of resources on grossly inefficient supply chains stretching far longer than they should be stretched.

      Ford can build a frame in The US, ship it to Brazil to have parts added, with the complete or mostly complete vehicle returned to the US for sale. That has happened in the past. What makes it possible is the arbitrage in wages & regulations.

      Supply chain efficiency meant paring back supply chains, producing maximum inflexibility in delivering products. The multiple failures and the ongoing failure of Pfizer vaccine distribution coupled with maximum incompetent political leadership, illustrates the supply chain inefficiencies.

      Companies such as Amazon are wholly dependent on tax law for their profits. Close the loopholes and have Amazon pay the taxes it should have? Jeff Bezos would not be worth 1/1000th of what he is now. Amazon is 100% taxpayer subsidized through the granting of tax loopholes. Is grossly inefficient as up to 40% of products are returned.

      Failure in American Capitalism is rewared. Success draws the attention of Vultures who descend on companies to strip them bare. SPACs are now the rage, taking investor money and then hunting for an opportunity to buy a company. Before, Wall Street hunted for big game companies that had already existed. Now? The business landscape is so bare that Wall Street is taking pre-payments for future stripping of assets from companies that don’t even exist yet.

      :American Cannibal Capitalism is coming. The current Covid-19 economy is the preview of the American future.

    2. Rod

      “Everyone Is Tired of Always Staying Silent”

      FWIW—from NPR, which obviously flubbed their Editorial Obligations in letting this on the Air:

      Carlos Holguin was working as an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles. And one day, he got a call from a Hollywood actor about the actor’s Salvadoran housekeeper. She was in the U.S. illegally and needed help. Her daughter had been caught trying to enter the U.S. to join her.

      first it was the ‘gardeners and nannies and cooks and houskeepers’ then the landscapers, masons and carpenters, then…
      and families also–a bedrock in american dreams..

      My career was spent in Construction, across the US. That Industries Labor Practices(historically sketchy in the US) have been mightily impacted by illegal immigration and employment practices, and are now FUBAR.

  23. anon in so cal

    Los Angeles County is between a rock and a hard place.

    California teachers, nurses, healthcare, grocery and hotel employees, their influential unions are calling for a strict month-long Los Angeles County shutdown in January to control the raging COVID-19 pandemic, save lives and ultimately allow for a quicker reopening of schools and the economy.

    On the other hand, the virus spreads within households:

    ““A universal factor in a lot of these patients is they typically had somebody in their family that had the disease as well,” he said. “It’s spreading through the households.”
    The family factor has been increasingly documented, with many experts pointing to Thanksgiving gatherings as a flashpoint for the most recent surge.”

    “The Southern California region, which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, has just 0.5% of its ICU beds available, according to state data, down from 7% just days ago. As of Tuesday, Los Angeles County had fewer than 100 ICU beds, while Riverside County was at 0% capacity.”

    The principal problem is lack of skilled staffing. California is importing foreign medical workers, including from Australia, to try to meet staffing shortages, which lead to triage:

    ““There’s been times when we’ve had multiple patients having cardiac arrest at the same time, and we’ve had to really triage to figure out which patient to resuscitate first,” said Reddy, the hospital’s intensivist medical director. “If there’s multiple emergencies, I try to gauge which patient I can make the most difference in.”

    1. D. Fuller

      How does a household become infected?

      Someone has to bring it in from the outside.

      Unfortunately, the selfish individuals who care little for life beyond their own? Will not abide a lockdown. Plus, the number of infections is now so great that Covid-19 can not be controlled. It is an uncontrolled pandemic.

      To snuff it out would require martial law, shoot on sight orders, strict quarantine of individuals to their households, the US military & law enforcement & health agencies going door to door organizing food deliveries & testing. This is a true quarantine. That “quarantine” that happens now in various places? Is for show. Americans who complain about the current fake quarantines simply don’t have the courage or fortitude, or are selfish to only consider their comforts, or are delusional; to do what is necessary to save lives. Even their own. The crowd that can be lumped into “as long as it doesn’t happen to me. Because if it does, I want everything for free” crowd.

      That is not going to happen.

      The purpose of the American response, one such purpose, was to drag it out for as long as possible; so that people became tired. “Herd immunity” = stocks must go up. The faster the mythical herd immunity, the more stocks go up.

      DESENSITIZATION. And it has worked. The economy trumps lives. The stock market must go up. The wealthiest must not suffer the indignities of their workers calling off of work due to becoming infected and even dying.

  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: US and Ukraine vote AGAINST anti-Nazi resolution proposed by Russia at UN General Assembly, Germany abstains RT

    Wanted to forward that story but needed a more detailed and non-RT article so it wouldn’t be dismissed by the intended recipient who has a big case of the TDS, so I did a quick search. It appears supporting Nazis has become an almost annual event for the US.

    Happened in 2017 and the headline tried to blame it on Trump (even though Trump was ostensibly against the Ukrainian Nazis, if he was even aware of them, but let’s not let facts get in the way) –

    And about 2 seconds more effort shows it happened also in 2016 when St. Obama was still in charge –

  25. Swamp Yankee

    Re: sugar gliders. I’m close to both Methuen and Jamaica Plain, but can’t take on the little fellas.

    My only experience of them was one of my students at the community college I taught at pre-Covid was taking them to class and using them as service animals. Said it helped his severe PTSD. Neither I nor any of his other professors had any problem with it, he kept them in a little pouch, they were unobtrusive and lightened up the day when we did see them.

    However, our new and first ever Provost, brought in to try to bring the place up to accreditation standards, decided they were verboten. Now, mind you, said Provost had been kicked out of the American Psychological Association because he re-wrote the standards so psychologists could participate in CIA torture in the mid-2000s.

    And boy, was he a real family-blogging family-blog. Absolutely refused all personal appeals from me and the vet student’s other profs to let this one slide. Apparently you can change rules for GITMO but not marsupials. He only lasted a year. But I’m sure it did permanent damage to the school’s retention of veterans.

    At any rate, I parted ways with that place after Covid destroyed enrollment, and don’t see myself going back there or anywhere else in higher ed, largely because of administrators like said torture Provost.

    Very cute creatures, though!

  26. Rtah100

    It is a big deal. The efficacy of 95% is based on a small number (cannot find quickly but c 100 IIRC) cases developing in the vaccinated arm. Very few cases compared to the control arm, say 5, therefore 0.05 odds ratio of infection if vaccinated, equals 95% efficacy.

    Now, roughly equal numbers (c. 1,200) of unconfirmed cases occurred in the two arms. None of the cases were PCR+be, just symptomatic. Assume a 0.1% false negative Tate, 12 cases in each arm are positive and the odds ratio is now 17/112= 0.14, efficacy 86%. If the false negative PCR rate is 1%, 125 cases occurred in vaccine arm and 220 in control arm. Odds ratio 0.55, efficacy 45%.

    The true number of cases occurring in the vaccinated arm is hugely important and it takes a tiny false negative rate (bad sampling, bad testing) to skew it. Plus the cases evading PCR tests will not be sterilising immunity.

    The Oxford study swabbed both arms weekly. I prefer their data.

    1. Cuibono

      You are indeed right! thank you for this. The insidious challenges that even small false negative and positive tests!
      This needs to be written about! Seriously

      NC staff: sign this man up!

      1. Cuibono

        Sorry : your math might be off here.
        There were 1600 suspected but unconfirmed cases

        1600X1%= 16 not 125.


        so then we get 17/118 or efficacy of 86%

        but that is at 1% false neg

        What at 10%?

        1. Cuibono

          Sorry again.this is not right I dont think.

          False negative percentage is calculated off of true positives not all tests.

          We would need to know the prevlenace of people with ILI who were covid positve at that time

          In other words if you live in Vietnam and have flu like symptoms today and get a negative PCR you can be sure the test is true.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Unique prediction of ‘modified gravity’ challenges dark matter theory”

    In a way, this would make sense this. As you go to smaller scales in the real word, Newtonian physics breaks down and you need Quantum physics to explain what is happening with what is observed. So perhaps as go up the macro scale, the same thing is happening here as Newtonian physics breaks down and you need modified Newtonian dynamics to explain what is happening. The implication might be that Newtonian physics really applies to only the middle portion of a sort of bell curve in physics. No, change that. Considering the scales on both sides, Newtonian physics may be really only applying to the border between the two.

  28. DGL

    Actually the Covid case numbers are for the Prefecture of Tokyo (9.3 million population), not the Tokyo Metropolitan area (over 35 million). The Tokyo Metro area also includes Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Ibaraki, Gunma, and Tochigi prefectures., in most definitions.

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